Friday, May 8, 2020

Realizing Our True Identity in Christ

The Incarnation is the truth that Christ — by whom, through whom and for whom all things are created, and in whom all things exist and hold together (Colossians 1:16-17) — “became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:14). That is, he became a human being, not only one of us but one with us. In Jesus Christ, divinity united with humanity, heaven united with earth, eternity united with time. Christ fully participates with us in our humanity so that we can participate in his divinity (2 Peter 1:4), becoming by grace what Christ is by nature.

When we act contrary to Christ, then, we are acting contrary to our true human nature. Our true nature as humans is that of beings created in the image of God, created to be like God. Though that nature was subject to mortality and became corrupt, it did not cease to be.

The Incarnation demonstrates that humankind was still of such a nature as to be able to bear the image and likeness of God, otherwise, the Word would not have been able to become a human being and join himself with our humanity. In other words, Jesus would not have been able to be fully human as well as fully divine, so his death on the cross would have had no saving benefit for us.

The truth of the gospel is that the Incarnation really did happen — Christ really did join himself with all humankind. For there is only one humanity, only one human nature, and God in Christ has united with it — wonderful mystery! The Incarnation made it inevitable that Christ, uniting with us in our mortal condition, would meet death — and that at the hands of sinful humanity nailing him to the cross. But because he is Life, he conquered death and the devil, and so also sin, not merely for us, on our behalf, but more than that, as us.

Because of the Incarnation, Christ is our identity and our true nature. In him, through his Incarnation, we are, as Paul says, “conformed to the image of the Son” (Romans 8:29), who is the perfect expression of God’s being. In the Incarnation, Christ restores human nature itself, to partake of the divine nature. When we act contrary to Christ, then, we are acting contrary to our true selves, our true identity, and our true nature. It is in following Christ, by the Holy Spirit, that we begin to realize who we really are.

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